Disney reworks classic films for modern audiences

Like the princesses found at its theme parks, the Walt Disney Company is putting more effort into realistic versions of their works with a recent trend of live-action adaptations of their classic films. However, while some fans appreciate the films, others feel the company is trying to cash in on its classic works rather than producing new ideas.

by Staff Writer Cody Campbell

The Walt Disney Company has produced some of the most acclaimed animated films of all time.

However, while the beloved company continues to produce more original ideas every year, in the times of more remakes, even Disney has begun going back to its original classics and bringing them into the world of live-action.

Some are remakes of the original films, including 2016’s “The Jungle Book” and last year’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which has two pending Academy Award nominations for production and costume design.

There have also been sequels (such as 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland”) and an alternate version of “Sleeping Beauty” in “Maleficent.”

Some Disney fans love the idea of a fresh take on the classic movies that defined their childhood.

“I love all of the remakes Disney has done so far,” said freshman Sydney Craft. “Those movies take me back to my childhood, and I can never get enough of that.”

However, others believe Disney is exploiting ideas from their nostalgia to avoid making an original film.

Senior Kobee Vance said Disney is taking a more effortless approach to filmmaking.

“I think it’s lazy and unoriginal,” he said. “This is a time where movie studios just want to play it safe instead of taking a risk on an original piece, and Disney is the worst of them all.”

For the past four years, Disney has released at least one live-action adaptation of a classic animated movie every year, with more planned for the future.

Disney’s history with live-action films originated in the 1950s, with hits like “Treasure Island” and “Robin Hood.”

The company began remaking its animated classics in 1994 with a remake of “The Jungle Book.” The film received poor reviews and did not fare well in theaters.

This was followed up by a live-action “101 Dalmatians” remake in 1996 that also was not a huge hit for Disney but did well enough at the box office to warrant a “102 Dalmatians” sequel in 2000.

After its live-action flops, Disney took a 10-year hiatus from the genre before trying their hand at adapting another classic, “Alice in Wonderland,” in 2010. The film grossed more than 1 billion dollars, ushering in a new era for Disney’s classic films.

Michael Johnson, assistant professor of film and digital media production, said while the films may not trump the originals, they can still be worth checking out.

“I’ve yet to see a single Disney live-action adaptation that has surpassed the original film in terms of quality, but they don’t really have to,” he said. “As long as the filmmakers try something new and exciting, an audience can find worth in adaptations and reboots.”

With three live-action remakes planned for next year, including “Dumbo,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” Disney is showing no signs of slowing down with their plans for revisiting their past successes. Only time will tell if the craze will die down or continue to grow.